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BIO SEMINAR:Of nutrients and toxicants: Root membrane transport...

Guest: Dr.Devrim Coşkun 

Title: Understanding protein evolution: from the concept of fitness landscapes to protein engineering

Date/TimeJune 6,2024 14:40 Online

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Meeting ID:  969 0114 3248

Abstract: We are living through turbulent times. Chief among the myriad global challenges we face is sustainably feeding an estimated 9.5 billion people by mid-century while simultaneously combating (and mitigating) a host of environmental issues which modern agriculture, itself, has contributed to (e.g., the rises in pollution, soil erosion, pests, disease, drought, salinity, etc.). My research aims to address this challenge by investigating the underlying molecular, cellular, and physiological transport mechanisms of mineral nutrient and toxicant acquisition in the roots of the world’s foremost crops, bridging the gap between the cutting-edge of molecular genetics and field-level agroecology. I will discuss my work on plant silicon (Si) transport and Si-derived resilience against a wide range of environmental stressors, both biotic and abiotic, and how we can effectively exploit this beneficial nutrient to mitigate crop stress and reduce our reliance on pesticides and fungicides. I will also discuss my work on root ammonium (NH3/NH4 + ) transport, particularly in the contexts of ammonium toxicity and reducing the prodigious waste and environmental damage caused by global N fertilization. Lastly, I will discuss my aims to elucidate the nature of primary sodium (Na+ ) uptake under conditions of salinity stress, and what low-affinity potassium (K + ) transport can reveal about this process .


  • Born and raised in Toronto, Canada (with Turkish heritage and citizenship, thanks to his Turkish father). Currently living in Quebec City (since 2017).
  • Hon. B. Sc. (2009) and Ph.D. (2016; funded by the “Alexander Graham Bell” Canada Graduate Scholarship, NSERC) from the University of Toronto, in the laboratory of Prof. Herbert J. Kronzucker
  • Thesis project on the transport mechanisms of potassium (K+), ammonium (NH3/NH4+), and sodium (Na+), in the context of low-K+ stress, ammonium toxicity, and salinity stress, respectively, in the roots of barley, rice, and arabidopsis.
  • Postdoc (2017 – 2022; FRQNT Postdoctoral Fellow (2019 – 2022) and NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow (2017 – 2019)) in the laboratory of Prof. Richard R. Bélanger (Université Laval), studying the transport mechanisms of silicon (Si) and its prophylactic properties against environmental stress.
  • Research Associate (2022 – present) in the laboratory of Prof. Bélanger, studying the molecular genetics of fungicide resistance in the context of cranberry fruit rot disease.
  • Author of 26 peer-reviewed articles and three book chapters (most recently, two for the latest edition of ‘Marschner’s Mineral Nutrition of Plants’ (2023; eds. Çakmak İ, Rengel Z, and White PJ; Elsevier).
  • Subject Editor (2017 – present), Journal of Plant Physiology (Elsevier).
  • Section Editor (2021 – present), Plant and Soil (Springer Nature).
  • "World Expert in Potassium" by Expertscape (2021). Placed in the top 0.1% of scholars having authored works on potassium over the past 10 years, across all fields of biological and medical research.
  • Inaugural awardee of the “Marschner Young Scientist Award” (XVII. International Plant Nutrition Colloquium; İstanbul, Türkiye; 2013).



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